by Uk Tabloid
The moment of truth has arrived for the European Union. The debt crisis has brought the single currency to the brink of meltdown.
Leaders of the EU now face a stark choice. They can either allow the eurozone to fall apart through the withdrawal of hopelessly indebted member states such as Greece and Portugal, or ruthlessly press ahead with full economic and political unification, creating a new European nation that will impose fiscal discipline throughout its territory.
Complete integration or chaotic disintegration: those are the only two alternatives for the eurozone’s future. What is certain is that the EU cannot go on pouring money into the basket-case economies of the Mediterranean. Since the Greek crisis blew up the euro has lost more than 24 cents in value. Even the bail-out of £645billion for its weaker states failed to restore economic credibility.
In fact the colossal scheme has only disturbed the markets further by giving the impression that European debts are spiralling out of control. Little wonder then that German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned this week that “the euro is in danger”. Yet her action in imposing restrictions on speculation by currency traders does nothing to address the central problem of looming insolvency within the EU, for there is little sign that the governments of Spain, Portugal and Greece are willing to enact the tough measures required to prevent national bankruptcy, especially not in the face of mass protests.
If the euro is to survive then the bureaucrats of Brussels will have to take charge of the budgets of member states. The EU can no longer dole out the cash without having control over revenue and expenditure. Such a step would mean the final demise of any economic independence within the EU. Member states would be reduced to the status of regional authorities, their finances determined by unelected commissioners.
But that is precisely why Brussels will be so eager to embark on a fiscal takeover. The debt crisis provides a unique opportunity for the Eurocrats to realise their dream of creating a unified federal superstate. This has always been the primary goal behind the single currency. The euro is essentially a political project, not an economic one, with monetary union used as a vehicle for integration.
The founding father of the EU, French politician Jean Monnet, said in 1952 that “the fusion of economic functions will compel nations to fuse their sovereignty into that of a single European state”. Similarly, at the launch of the euro in 1999, EU president Romano Prodi declared that “for the first time since the Roman Empire we have an opportunity to unite Europe”.
The vision of unity was the reason that Brussels plunged ahead so recklessly with the euro. There was never any genuine justification for joining together such a jumble of disparate economies. It was absurd to pretend Germany,
that ruthlessly efficient industrial powerhouse, had the same interests as Greece with all its institutionalised debts and corruption.
Monetary union was only achieved by the EU fiddling its figures and breaking its own rules on fiscal deficits. Financial catastrophe was always inevitable. Even though Britain stayed out of the euro we are bound to be affected by the turmoil on the Continent, not least because 54 per cent of all our exports go there. As a member of the EU we may ultimately have to contribute around £15billion to the bail-out.
Just as worryingly Brussels has also demanded that all finance ministers submit their national budgets for approval by the commission, a precursor of full fiscal union. Chancellor George Osborne has rightly rejected this arrogant nonsense but the pressure will only intensify as the economic crisis deepens.
But we should be grateful that at least we have stayed out of the eurozone quagmire. The retention of sterling was perhaps the only good deed that Gordon Brown achieved, though his rejection of the euro was not based on any patriotic impulse but on his aggressive, self-absorbed character. On the one hand he could not stomach losing total command of the British economy.
On the other he wanted to undermine Tony Blair, who embodied the classic trendy metropolitan enthusiasm for the euro. Yet the man we should really thank for keeping Britain out of this mess is the late tycoon Sir James Goldsmith. The impact of his Euro-sceptic Referendum Party in the mid-Nineties forced John Major’s government to promise a national vote before joining the euro, a pledge that was echoed by Labour.
Politicians of all sides knew that the British public would never tolerate the destruction of independence so the popular will acted as a barrier to economic subjugation. British EU enthusiasts, from Edward Heath in the Seventies to Nick Clegg today, constantly tried to deceive us about the real nature of the European project. They claimed that we could maintain our sovereignty while submitting to EU rule.
But that has always been a lie. If their policy had been followed and we had joined the single currency we would now be facing national catastrophe. It would have meant the total demise of our democracy and independence.
Outside the euro there is still a hope of national survival. Within, only the tyranny of Brussels awaits.